Our ongoing search for answers regarding the relentlessly aggressive nature of the undead have focused on everything from primal psychology to postmortem addiction. But a recent research paper from the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland offers clear evidence that human aggression itself may actually be genetic and inherently biological.

Psychologists often focus on socioeconomic factors to explain aggressive behavior including education, poverty, etc. But these circumstances only act as a catalyst for those genetically predisposed to violence. However, the aggressive behavior of zombies often manifests only after death. So what could turn an otherwise peaceful population into violent monsters?

In this new study, neuroscientists have identified the deficiency of a neuron receptor called NMDA as one of the key elements for developing aggressive and violent behavior.

Armed with this discovery, the researchers proceeded to activate the NMDA receptor of the aggressive mice with a drug (D-cycloserine). The treatment was found to effectively reduce aggressive behavior as well as the associated low fear of the animals. Though a proof-of-concept at this stage, the finding opens up a potentially effective pharmaceutical target and treatment of aggression backed up by solid biological evidence.

Professor Carmen Sandi of the EPFL’s Brain Mind Institute believes the next logical step is to “help ameliorate aggressive dysfunctions in humans.” To put it bluntly; they hope to eliminate violent tendencies with drugs. But what does this mean for the inevitable zombie apocalypse?

Perhaps after death, a zombie virus somehow altered the very same gene responsible for the deficiency of this neuron receptor; resulting in both the relentlessly aggressive nature and ravenous hunger associated with the living dead. Would it respond to the same D-cycloserine treatment? Could we simply medicate the zombies to become docile, shambling corpses?

It’s an exciting prospect, to be sure! So we’ll keep our eyes open for any updates regarding this new discovery. But if you would like to learn more about the genetic causes associated with aggression and violence, please read the original research paper by the Federal Institute of Technology as published via ScienceDaily. Because what you don’t know could eat you!

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